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What pines?

1:22 PM  Jan 11th, 2006
by Thomas M. Columbus with information from archivist Kerrie Cross, biology professor Donald Geiger, S.M., and librarian and master gardener Kathleen Tiller

Lee Gosink ’62 e-mailed us noting that the January photo on his UD donor calendar is captioned “Our Lady of the Pines, Serenity Pines.” But the tree behind Mary looks like a spruce.

It is.

The statue called Our Lady of the Pines existed long before that spruce, before the Mary garden called Serenity Pines and even before many of the pines on that meditative spot by the Marianist cemetery next to Marycrest.

In 1883 a building, where St. Joseph Hall is now, burnt. Onlookers feared for the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception. Brother Joseph Meyer, S.M., promised Mary that, if she would protect her chapel, they would erect a statue in her honor.

Thus, Our Lady of the Pines.

UD folk, however, may have always had some confusion with trees. Reportedly the original statue was surrounded by Norway spruce. So the statue’s name, in the words of 1935 Marianist publication, is “more poetically beautiful than accurate.”

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Off the wall

1:31 PM  Jan 6th, 2006
by Deborah McCarty Smith

Kaitlin Wasik’s parents may have to get used to a blank spot on their family room wall in Perrysburg, Ohio. “Snorkeling,” Wasik’s pastel self-portrait drawn from a photo taken in Maui when she was 4, will be on exhibit in Alumni Hall until Thanksgiving.

The piece is one of 18 works selected for the sixth annual Honors Art Exhibition, a juried show open to all students in the University Honors and Berry Scholars programs.

It’s the first exhibit for Wasik, a first-year middle childhood education major. Sam Wukusick, a junior studio art major, is showing “Hosur Triptych,” offering visitors a chance to see more of the work he created after his immersion trip to India.

Other students whose work was chosen include majors in chemical engineering, leadership, international studies, religious studies, biology, biochemistry, Spanish, visual communication design and art education.

The “Best of Show” award, a $1,000 scholarship, went to Helen Smith, a senior biochemistry major, for her digital photograph, “Waiting.” Stop by Alumni Hall 125 and see the show.

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Drawing a crowd

1:27 PM  
by Kristen Wicker

Hundreds of people crammed into RecPlex this afternoon to be part of the dedication and blessing ceremony that officially opened UD’s new $25.3 million fitness and recreation complex.

“I’ve been informed this is the biggest turnout for a dedication ever on campus, and we don’t have enough cookies,” said Bill Schuerman, vice president of student development and dean of students, as he welcomed the crowd. “I’d like to remind you of your new year’s resolution and that this is a fitness facility and of the Catholic tradition of breaking the cookies.”

The formal ceremony also included comments from students, a blessing by Father Chris Wittmann, S.M., songs, and the cutting of red and blue ribbons draped from the main stairwell. After all the speechifying, the hundreds of onlookers fanned out to get a closer look of the impressive three-story facility.

” Whoa, you mean there’s more back here?” one awe-struck visitor said as she was being led down the hallway to RecPlex’s two multiactivity courts. “They thought of everything!”

Several people enjoyed frozen yogurt from The Chill snack and juice bar, the newest addition to the student-run Flyer Enterprises. Many walked up the large ramp that runs through the heart of the facility to Campus Recreation’s administrative offices to purchase their RecPlex memberships.

“I’ll see you here next time in gym shorts, right?” one UD staffer quipped to another as they waited to sign up. “But we’ve got to have iPods to work out here.”

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RecPlex open

1:34 PM  Jan 4th, 2006
by Michelle Tedford

Today, I ran into the cloudy blue skies over VWK.

The $25.3 million Fitness and Recreation Complex, dubbed the RecPlex, is open. Treadmills and their other cardio-cousins face in nearly every direction, offering vistas to distract the well-intentioned athlete. I picked one facing east out a wall of windows that showed students hoofing up Stuart Hill and hiking in from S Lot. Other angles feature basketball in the big gym, soccer in the small one and the climbing wall near the main entrance.

There were no lines, no dry-erase board tallying how many exercisers were entitled to the equipment before you.

And that’s only a snapshot of the athletic opportunities at RecPlex which, at 125,500 square feet and three stories high, is more than twice the size of the Physical Activities Center it replaces. Click on the photo to see a slideshow of RecPlex’s amenities, including:

-Courts for volleyball, racquetball, floor hockey, lacrosse and squash

-An aquatic center with an eight-lane natatorium and whirlpool

-An elevated indoor track

-A fitness center with more than 80 pieces of cardiovascular equipment and a line of Cybex Eagle strength equipment

-The Chill, a juice and snack bar run by Flyer Enterprises in joint venture with dining services

-Locker rooms, including some designated for family use.

Faculty, staff, graduate student and alumni rate information is available.

Postscript: Alumni can use RecPlex for a day fee of $5 by showing your alumni card. During normal office hours, stop at the guard shack at C lot off Evanston (click for map pdf) to get a parking permit. For details, call (937) 229-2731.

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To ‘B’ or not to ‘B’

10:34 AM  Dec 27th, 2005
by Michelle Tedford

The holidays bring a very precious gift to the few who work on campus between Christmas and New Year’s. Instead of hanging from a gaily lit tree, it dangles from our rearview mirrors.

For those of us in St. Mary Hall, it is a B Lot pass.

Last week, I made my uphill hike from A Lot at the corner of Stewart and Alberta streets with the realization that I have another five years — by parking services’ calculations — before I can expect to park a mere hop, skip and a jump from my workplace.

Don’t get me wrong. On a sunny day, my two-legged commute is a joy at any temperature. Those icy gray, slushy cold days are what I dread.

So, in the season of goodwill, parking services shares a bit of its own. The smile of the guard shack attendant and the smell of his Sharpie marker on the red, blue and white temporary parking passes remind me that this is the season of miracles. And of getting to work two minutes earlier. And of stepping into my office with dry feet.

Ah, what a grand three days it will be.

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Everything’s going swimmingly … now

11:39 AM  Dec 22nd, 2005
by Larry Burgess

Workers wearing four-inch spikes on the soles of their shoes pumped and spread plaster onto the floor of the RecPlex pool on the morning of Dec. 20. You can see the swimming lanes indicated by the blue tiles.

The RecPlex Aquatic Center promises to be more than just another swimming pool. There’s a 25-yard, 8-lane competition pool; a 35-foot-diameter, 4-foot deep leisure area; and a 12-foot diving well with a 1-meter diving board attached to the competition pool. There is also an 8-person spa.
The RecPlex is set to open Jan. 4, and annual rates for alumni are $500 for an individual and $700 for a family. Group swimming lessons get under way in February.

Check out the progress and you’ll see the pool has come a long way since severe June thunderstorms set back construction.

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Let there be light

11:44 AM  Dec 21st, 2005
by Deborah McCarty Smith

On the shortest day of the year, we gather in darkness to witness its beginning. The annual Winter Solstice and Prayer for Peace Celebration at the Marianist Environmental Education Center finds us bundled up and bearing candles as Sister Leanne Jablonski, FMI, leads our procession through the snow.

Last year we snaked through ink-dark woods uphill and down a snow-dusted path. Unable to see beyond the light of our candles, we followed in faith behind the person ahead until we emerged on the prairie of Mt. St. John, where we circled a blazing bonfire to pray and wait for sunrise.

This year, a layer of ice and snow makes the woodland walk too treacherous, and we take a safer, less scenic route. I’m childishly disappointed by this change in tradition. And then I remember how much has changed in the year since we last faced East, South, West and North to send hope and peace to the four corners of Earth. A tsunami, earthquake, hurricanes, ongoing warfare, loved ones lost, and survivors, who find this holy season colored by sorrow and suffering.

We listen to the message Pope Benedict will deliver on the World Day of Peace on Jan. 1: “All people are members of one and the same family. We need to regain an awareness that we share a common destiny which is ultimately transcendent. …”

We cannot know the destiny of the human family in the year that lies ahead, but Teilhard de Chardin had an inkling of what we must do:

“Everything beyond a certain distance is dark
And yet everything is full of being around us
This is the darkness, heavy with promise and threats, which we will have to illuminate and animate with the divine presence.”

The sun rises. The days grow longer.

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On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love bid for me …

11:49 AM  Dec 15th, 2005
by Matthew Dewald

Who knew that Studio D Gallery sits at the intersection of ArtStreet and Ebay? ArtStreet’s “Twelve Pots for Christmas,” handmade by local potters David Chesar ’97, Kate Meinke and Tommy Williams, are up for silent auction on Ebay (search “ArtStreet pots” to see listings for all 13). All proceeds will be donated to Daybreak, a Dayton-area nonprofit organization that serves homeless youth. The auctions for each pot end about 2 p.m. on Dec. 16. Let the bidding begin.

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Catching that Christmas off Campus spirit

12:01 PM  Dec 14th, 2005
by Matthew Dewald

Vicki Niendorf Sauceda ’84 dropped us an e-mail about two days of Christmas off Campus events in Houston, which she helped organize. They included an evening performance of “A Christmas Carol,” followed by a day of volunteering at the MD Anderson Cancer Center to help with the Children’s Art Project.”

We collated mail, unpacked merchandise and restocked shelves and then filled new orders. It was interesting and fun. Our volunteering allows the profits of the program to go to assisting children with cancer and their families,” she wrote. Chapters have been bringing the spirit of Christmas on Campus to cities around the country.

On Saturday, alumni in Detroit celebrated Christmas with the children of Christ the King School (face painting included). Santa Claus dropped by Marian Manor in Pittsburgh to help residents and UD alumni share the holiday spirit. More events are coming during the next week or so in other chapters, including San Diego, Boston, Atlanta, Cleveland and Milwaukee. For more information, contact the Alumni House at (888) UD-ALUMS.

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‘In aqua, veritas’

11:57 AM  
by Matthew Dewald

Saying a final goodbye to an old friend is never easy. When that friend is an eight-lane, 25-yard swimming pool, it’s tempting to go overboard. Fifteen friends of the Lackner Natatorium gathered poolside for a wake on its final day open to the public. RecPlex, UD’s new fitness center, is scheduled to open Jan. 4.

Holding candles and clad in black — in everything from hooded robes to maillots — they processed with varying degrees of solemnity around the pool one last time. Near the front, professor emeritus of history Frank Mathias, wearing only dark navy trunks and black flip-flops, played a mournful dirge on his saxophone.

Then they gathered at the north wall to say their farewells. Mary Ann Martin ’67 read a poem about a rose bush just outside the window (“When I swam back and forth looking at the roses/they called out to me”), which was followed by words of gratitude from Brother Jim Brown, S.M. ’64 and a group recitation of Psalm 148.

Scribblings on the wall behind them made up a makeshift memorial. “Dear PAC pool,” one read, “You helped pull me through open heart surgery in ’97.” Others calculated thousands of miles swum cumulatively day in and day out for decades. One stated simply, “In aqua, veritas.”

The ceremony concluded, many in the group jumped in the pool to drown their sorrow, leaving nary a dry eye in the house.

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